The security situation of Quintana Roo post-pandemic can be best described as inconsistent — with flare-ups of incidents becoming a regular occurrence in this once super peaceful destination.
For example, the chic destination of Tulum, where Instagram influencers are flocking to from the world over, has been the focus of more than its fair share of grizzly incidents.
And the situation all the way up the coast of the Riviera Maya is a similar one, with Playa del Carmen, Cancun, and even the quieter Puerto Morelos also wrestling with organized crime.
So, if the security situation has deteriorated, why does this Caribbean corner of Mexico continue to smash records within the tourism industry?
Are These Issues New?
The answer to this depends entirely on what part of this 235-mile-long destination travelers choose.
Previously, organized crime was mostly contained in the larger population centers such as Cancun and Playa del Carmen. But with the popularity of Quintana Roo exploding out of these areas and spreading out all along the coast, the problems of the big city have followed.
Tulum until just a couple of decades ago was a tiny fishing village, home to just a few families who have lived there since before anyone can remember. But once travelers discovered this certifiable slice of paradise, it became one of the world’s trendiest destinations.
Music festivals, bars, lively nightlife, and a bohemian image pulls huge numbers to the area.
Unfortunately, with the party often comes the consumption of narcotics, and like the old saying “there’s no smoke without fire”, in Quintana Roo there is rarely an organized crime presence without the consumption of narcotics by visitors.
How Resorts Reduce Concerns
The hotel association in Cancun, which includes many sister destinations such as Playa del Carmen, takes a proactive approach to the security of its customers.
Firstly, they are a huge source of information for both travelers and travel agents abroad, making sure there is no second guess about the true security situation in the destinations they represent.
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Through this, they hope to take the surprise away from any situational changes, making sure to accurately inform people when times are good, but also when they need to take extra precautions.
Quintana Roo isn’t a particularly small state, and the security situation can vary drastically across just a few miles. A situation that’s not completely different from cities in the U.S.
A traveler heading to Chicago would be extremely concerned by the crime stats there, but the reality of the situation is there are many safe and secure areas in the city for tourists to enjoy.
The Situation Isn’t Ignored
Quintana Roo has its issues, but the situation isn’t ignored by the authorities. There is a constantly updated response from the security services to ensure the situation doesn’t snowball.
The police, military, and national guard are all deployed in varying degrees of force across the state. And there is a strong focus on the protection of tourists and any areas they are to be found.
When looking at the security situation in Quintana Roo, the authorities’ response is more often than not immediate. If there is a shooting incident, it doesn’t take a local government meeting to discuss the response and act. Instead, they immediately deploy a response to protect tourists.
Are Tourists Really In Danger?
The truth is that travelers are at a bigger risk from dangerous swimming conditions and sunstroke than they are of being a target of organized crime.
In fact, the statistics on this are overwhelming, out of the millions of tourists that visit each year less than 0.1% will be a victim of the state’s security situation.
That’s 1 out of every 1000 visitors. For reference, the rate in both London and Paris is higher where crimes against tourists are at play.
Accidental, Not Targeted
In the vast majority of cases where a traveler has got caught up in the more serious side of Quintana Roo’s security situation, it is usually not deliberate.
Tourists are not a target for organized crime here, these criminals need the high tourism numbers as much as legitimate businesses. And the heavy response that an attack on a traveler brings out of the security services is something these elements prefer to avoid.
Shootings, armed robberies, and other high-impact crimes will always dominate the news cycle, but the bigger picture of Quintana Roo as a destination for tourists is much more secure than this leads travelers to believe.
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Saturday 15th of April 2023
Security concerns - by Americans who don't even notice that their country has a mass shooting pretty much every week. And too many other violence problems to even try to list.